Recently, a group of around three hundred employees at ZeniMax Media unionised, marking a historical moment by becoming Microsoft’s first and only unionised group. In 2021, Microsoft acquired ZeniMax Media and its subsidiaries in a landmark deal worth some $7.5 billion. Reportedly, Microsoft ‘remained neutral’ throughout proceedings, opting out of anti-union assemblies and allowing the unionisation campaign to proceed without any hindrance.
Every member of the unionised group comes from the quality assurance department at ZeniMax Media. Despite only flying the banner of one particular part of the business, the group makes up the largest single union effort in the entire gaming industry. There are expectations that workers in other organisations will follow suit, particularly within the likes of Activision, where votes to unionise started surfacing toward the end of 2021.
‘An Absolute Gift’
In a statement, Skylar Hinnant, an employee at ZeniMax reportedly heavily involved in the organisation efforts, said:
‘This is an empowering victory that allows us to protect ourselves and each other in a way we never could without a union.’
Apparently, according to insider information, the core goal of the unionisation effort is to bring changes to Microsoft’s approach to internal promotions and on-the-job responsibilities. Furthermore, there’s a key objective in place that’ll see the unionised group seek more flexible working policies where remote working is concerned. Following the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies became extremely flexible with remote working policies, with some even opting to go fully remote and ditch the office environment entirely.
Microsoft spoke relatively positively when issuing a statement regarding the unionisation at ZeniMax:
‘We look forward to engaging in good faith negotiations as we work towards a collective bargaining agreement.’
One spokesperson for ZeniMax went on record stating that Microsoft’s decision to remain neutral throughout the proceedings was ‘nothing short of an absolute gift’. There’s a busy year ahead for ZeniMax Media, with the impending launches of many titles, such as Starfield and Redfall, and the quality assurance department will undoubtedly be rushed off its feet. This unionisation effort allows them to take their working model and practices into their own hands much more effectively, which is nothing but a good thing.